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2017 Top Stories: No. 10 - ILM Announces Third Carrier To Lineup

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Dec 15, 2017
The addition of United Airlines to the Wilmington International Airport will bring two new nonstop destinations this spring to Chicago and Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of United Airlines)
Wilmington International Airport landed a third new carrier this year – United Airlines, which is set to bring new nonstop flights between the Port City and two major U.S. cities.
 
United Airlines will offer nonstop routes between ILM and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and between ILM and Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Washington, D.C., beginning April 9, ILM officials announced in late November.
 
The nonstop services will be offered year-round.
 
“To solidify a new carrier as well as two new routes to hub cities is extremely exciting,” ILM Airport Director Julie Wilsey said about the announcement. “We are very appreciative of our community partners for their steadfastness and feel confident that Wilmington is committed and ready to support the service.”
 
The new carrier and flight offerings were part of a larger announcement by United Airlines, which said it was increasing its services from five of its U.S. hubs to 10 new routes in North Carolina, California, Florida, Montana, New York, Oregon and Texas, according to a United news release.
 
Two flights a day will be offered both between ILM and IAD and between ILM and ORD. United Airways is using two 50-seat regional jets for the destinations, Gary Broughton, deputy director at ILM, said.
 
“It is important to note that we now have three out of the four largest carriers in the country,” Broughton said. Along with the new addition of United, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines also run routes to and from Wilmington.
 
The new service was made possible with a federal grant and support from the community, Broughton said.
 
The airport applied for a Small Community Air Service Development Program Grant with the U.S. Department of transportation in 2013 and awarded $750,000 in January 2014.
 
The grant required an additional local match of $200,000 for a total of $950,000 in funds for the carrier. The additional funds came from the city, county and private businesses, Broughton said. Some of it was pledged and others came through in-kind services as well as letters of support from the community for ILM flights to Chicago and D.C.
 
United Airlines will use available gate space and ticket counters at ILM.
 
ORD is consistently ranked as a top destination for those who fly out of ILM, most recently ranking No. 5, airport officials have said.
 
The flights include 80 connecting markets beyond ORD and 66 markets beyond IAD, including international markets such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Paris.
 
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